Get the Best Start

The best possible start means the right dog. Get the right dog and your training is at least half done.

The right dog is not of one specific breed, but displays the behaviors of a working SAR dog. These are easy to describe:

  • The dog enjoys playing with toys;

  • The dog initiates play by bringing toys to you;

  • The dog continues to look for a favorite toy even if the toy is hidden;

  • The dog enjoys being with people;

  • The dog is bold and readily investigates new things and sounds.

SAR dogs come in all shapes and colors, but all good SAR dogs that we have experience training will do just about anything to play with their toys. Some will play with any toy they can find. The Puppy Tests (which also apply to older dogs) are ways that have proven effective at choosing the right dog for SAR work.

Choosing the right dog is so important to ASD handlers that we're very particular about the bloodlines of our pups. Our dogs come from working dog lines. Working means police work, herding, bird hunting, or retrieving. Mixed breeds can work well, but the best mixed breed SAR dogs have parents who are working dogs.

Not all dogs are cut out to be SAR dogs and it is unfair to the dog and the handler to struggle with a dog who does not have the right temperament. It is also true that bad training can ruin a dog who has the potential to become a good SAR dog. The recipe needs both the right dog and good training.